1934 Joe Sewell New York Yankees Contract

Sold For: $1,680

Auction Year: 2016 fall

Lot: 1286

Item Year: 1934

Category: Autographed Baseballs/Flats/Photos

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Four-page fold-over contract, dated April 2, 1934, between Joe Sewell and the American League Baseball Club of New York, signed in black fountain pen by "Joe Sewell" (grading "10") and "Jacob Ruppert" as president ("10"). Also signed on the front in black ink by Will Harridge ("9") as American League President. The one-year contract, for the 1934 season, calls for Sewell to receive a salary of $4,000 as a coach with the Yankees. Sewell retired as a player following the 1933 season, but for the next two years he remained in uniform as a member of the New York Yankees' coaching staff. As a player, Joe Sewell's .312 lifetime average in fourteen seasons is testament to his hitting prowess, but it does not tell the whole story. Sewell was the best contact hitter in baseball history. In 7,132 at bats Sewell only struck out 114 times. To put that feat in perspective, one only has to note that since the time of his retirement well over 500 players have struck out more than 114 times in a single season! Sewell's ratio of one strikeout for every 62.6 at bats is by far the best ever achieved, with Paul Waner's ratio of 44.9 a distant second. Sewell was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1977. Contracts of Hall of Fame players are rare and the offered example is no exception. This is only the second Sewell contract we have ever offered. The first, a 1932 Yankees players contract, appeared as Lot 748 in our May 2012 auction, where it realized $11,258. The contract (8.5 x 11 inches) displays two horizontal folds and is in Excellent condition overall. Auction LOA from James Spence/JSA. Reserve $300. Estimate (open).

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